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Ciganos in Rio During the Time of the King

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An overlooked demographic in Rio de Janeiro's early history is the cigano (Romani) people. In the late sixteenth century, ciganos fleeing persecution arrived in the city and slowly established themselves as an important part of the city's economic and social life through participation in the bustling slave trade and popular nightlife. Manuel Antônio de Almeida, author of Memoirs of a Militia Sergeant, and Jean Baptiste Debret, a French painter, provide contemporary perspectives of ciganos during the Portuguese Court's stay in Rio and exemplify the negative stereotypes of the population. In this ImagineRio narrative, I explore the characterization of the cigano people and their role in society before, during, and after the Time of the King through Debret's art, Almeida's writing, and historical perspectives. 


AutorBianca Schutz